John William Finn

Chief Ordnanceman John William Finn, a Navy veteran of 15 years service, was in charge of looking after the squadron's machine-guns at Kaneohe, but Sunday 7 December was his rest day. The sound of machine-gun fire awoke him rudely though, and he rapidly drove from his quarters to the hangars and his ordnance shop to see what was happening. Maddened by the scene of chaos and devastation that he saw, he set up and manned both a .30-cal. and a .50-cal. machine-gun in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, despite the attention of heavy enemy strafing fire. He later recalled: 'I was so mad I wasn't scared'. Finn was hit several times by bomb shrapnel as he valiantly returned the Japanese fire, but he continued to man the gun, as other sailors supplied him with ammunition. John Finn was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor and courage beyond the call of duty in this action. Even after receiving some first aid treatment, he insisted on returning to his post to supervise the re-arming of the returning PBYs that had escaped the devastation at Kaneohe.

From Pearl Harbor 1941, Campaign 62, by Carl Smith
© Osprey Publishing 2001